Maybe we should start by defining what high blood pressure is.
High blood pressure, or hypertension as your doctor calls it, occurs when the pressure of your blood on the walls of your blood vessels is greater than 120/80 mmHg.1 For a full explanation of what those numbers mean, check out this article.
Blood pressure (BP) varies during the day2, so it’s important to determine whether it is just a temporary elevation or it is raised most of the time. Temporary jumps aren’t necessarily an issue3, but high BP over time can cause serious cardiovascular issues. For example, exercise will increase systolic blood pressure (the top number in your BP measurement) and then gradually return to normal.4 In fact, regular exercise can reduce your blood pressure in the longer term.5 Caffeine may also increase your BP for a short time,6 as does stress.7
While there isn’t one specific cause of permanently high blood pressure, a number of factors can increase the risk of it occurring1:
- A history of high blood pressure in the family
- Being overweight
- Too much salt in the diet
- Too much alcohol
- Lack of regular physical activity
- Chronic stress5
- Added sugar, especially processed forms like high-fructose corn syrup3
- Sleep apnoea3
- Energy drinks that include things like guarana3
Are there signs and symptoms I should look for?
There are usually no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it is important to either have your BP regularly checked by your doctor or pharmacist or invest in a good quality blood pressure monitor for home.1 You can see our complete range of Omron and Heart Sure blood pressure devices here.*
Is high blood pressure bad for me?
Yes. Long term elevated blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, having a heart attack, or having a stroke. If you’re concerned, please speak to your health care professional.
*Always read & follow the instructions for use & health warnings. For people with high blood pressure. Consult your doctor to evaluate the readings. Check your device periodically for accuracy.